It finally happened. The Philadelphia 76ers traded James Harden to his preferred destination, the Los Angeles Clippers, early Tuesday morning.
This was Harden’s third trade demand in under three years.
In a corresponding move, the 76ers waived Danny Green.
2027 first-round pick swap (via LAC)
For the Clippers, this is an interesting move. They have had Zubac, Batum, and Morris on their team for a few years now, and although they did not necessarily hurt them, they did not help them too much either. People will criticize the Clippers for giving up their depth, but it is not that bad.
Here’s their anticipated depth chart following the mega-trade:
While this lineup does not have a ton of depth, the Clippers still have a top-five starting lineup in the league, which is what matters the most in the playoffs. At the end of the day, it will all come down to whether Leonard can stay healthy. A duo of James Harden and Paul George can win a playoff series (maybe two if they get lucky) but cannot be legitimate contenders without Kawhi.
As for the Sixers, this was probably the best package they could get for Harden at this point. If Darryl Morey wanted to, he could have waited this out and maybe traded Harden for another All-Star at the trade deadline to either a contender or a team that employs a disgruntled star.
This is what the 76ers’ new depth chart will look like:
Outside of Embiid and Maxey, there is nothing special about this lineup. It is a good (not great) rotation. The Sixers are probably not as good as the Bucks or Celtics, but anything can happen come playoff time. This will certainly be the case if Maxey turns out to be the All-Star that he looked like at the start of this season.
In addition, several players the Sixers just acquired are on expiring deals. There is a good chance that Morey made this deal now so that he can flip them at the deadline. With this all being said, the best return they got was not an individual player but rather the haul of draft picks. The Clippers will likely be a lottery team from 2026 through 2028, and the Sixers will have rights to at least one of those picks. They can either draft a franchise player or trade the pick for a better player. It will surely be interesting to see what happens with these assets in the future.
When a team trades for an All-Star, fans get excited to see how it will pan out. This latest blockbuster deal will certainly be no exception. Even though both teams got what they wanted, there will almost definitely be one team that comes out as the winner.
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